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Poster: NAveryW Date: Nov 9, 2011 10:16pm
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Is Gamera, the character, public domain?

A character enters the public domain when the work that character originated in enters the public domain. Gammera the Invincible is public domain, so does that make the characters therein public domain? I assume this depends on whether or not the original Japanese version is public domain; from what I understand, the Gamera films that are public domain are so because both the Japanese originals are public domain in the US (because US copyright law doesn't recognize the copyright inheritance from Daiei to Kadokawa) and the localizations are public domain (because the copyrights weren't renewed).

So if I understand correctly, the original Japanese Gamera films by Daiei are public domain and, consequently, the character of Gamera can be used freely in the United States. Is this correct, or did I misunderstand something?

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Poster: skybandit Date: Nov 14, 2011 4:17pm
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Is Gamera, the character, public domain?

True, the character of Gamera is not Copyrighted.
False, the character of Gamera is Public Domain.
You're forgetting Trademark, which is entirely seperate from Copyright, and needs no renewal. Gamera is under Trademark, just like Dick Tracy, the Shadow, the Green Hornert and the Lone Ranger, even though many of their individual films and TV episodes are Public Domain. You can frrely display or sell these individual films and episodes, but are forbidden to make original ones with those same characters without giving the Trademark owner a piece of the pie.

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Poster: NAveryW Date: Nov 14, 2011 7:08pm
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Is Gamera, the character, public domain?

But wasn't there a case that determined that you can't use trademark to protect characters who have fallen out of copyright because it functionally extends copyright indefinitely?

I can't remember which case or character it was, but it's possible I'm thinking of Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc. The district court ruled that Fleischer no longer owned the copyright or trademark to Betty Boop, but it seems Fleischer appealed and the Ninth Circuit reached a much less straightforward opinion... and it looks like the case is still going.

This post was modified by NAveryW on 2011-11-15 03:05:45

This post was modified by NAveryW on 2011-11-15 03:08:21

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Poster: froggod Date: Nov 24, 2011 7:54pm
Forum: moviesandfilms Subject: Re: Is Gamera, the character, public domain?

Actually, the last trademark held by the studio was abandoned on October 7, 2011, per the USPTO site...